Another first for orthopaedic surgery in Fife

Mr Dunstan with his team following the successful surgeries.
Mr Dunstan with his team following the successful surgeries.

NHS Fife has become one of the first health boards in Scotland to successfully perform five hip replacements in one day.

Excluding the Golden Jubilee Hospital, which is a unique facility catering exclusively for procedures scheduled in advance, no other health board has completed five hip replacements in a day, with the standard generally being less than four.

The orthopaedic surgery team at the Victoria Hospital usually performs four procedures on its list each weekday; however, having been recognised as one of the most efficient theatres in Scotland, the team were challenged by the Scottish Government to carry out five. The team completed their task on the 31st October and will now provide feedback that will be considered by Government officials.

Ed Dunstan, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and NHS Fife director of surgery, believes it is all down to being as efficient as possible: “In Fife we are committed to being as efficient as we can and making the best possible use of our resources to benefit our patients. We plan our patient lists well in advance, we make sure our staffing levels are appropriate and we always ensure our pre-operation assessment is as effective as it can be. We have separated our elective and emergency Orthopaedic work and have a dedicated elective theatre suite, ward and team. As such we are uniquely placed to lead from the front when it comes to reducing the amount of time patients are waiting for operations.”

Of the five patients that underwent surgery, three were discharged within 24 hours. The average length of stay following hip replacement in Fife is now an average of 3.2 days, a significant improvement from eight days in 2008; the statistic is one of the best in Scotland.

Mr Dunstan says the figures point to a continued improvement. He continued: “Fife is one of the top performers nationally and to be asked by the Scottish Government to be the first to perform five hip replacements on a day list is a real testament to the high standards of our team. Indeed, NHS Fife’s orthopaedic surgical theatres are the second most efficient in Scotland with fewer early finishes, late starts and less turnover time between patients.”

Paul Hawkins, NHS Fife chief executive, said: “This is great news for NHS Fife and I am delighted that Ed and his team are once again being acknowledged for their fantastic work. Across NHS Fife, we are privileged to be able to rely upon such an innovative workforce that works tirelessly for the benefit of patients every day.”